Home > Arctic Bite (Forgotten Brotherhood #2)(7)

Arctic Bite (Forgotten Brotherhood #2)(7)
Author: N.J. Walters

   This was not a home but a place to stay.

   His curiosity kicked up a notch. Most people surrounded themselves with things that were important to them or gave them pleasure. This was clean but impersonal.

   What was she hiding?

   She motioned to the sofa. “It’s not much.” When she measured the length of his body with her eyes, every muscle tensed. “It’s going to be too short for you.”

   “Don’t worry about it,” he told her. “Most every piece of furniture is too short or small for me.”

   The corners of her mouth tipped upward in a beguiling smile. “I imagine it is.” She headed toward one of the other doors. “I’ll get you some blankets.”

   He could have told her he didn’t need them, but that would make her suspicious. He tugged on the hem of his sweater. It was really warm in here. Or was it being so close to her that was making him overheat?

   He shifted his weight from one leg to the other as she moved around in the other room. He leaned in to get a glimpse. The furniture in the bedroom didn’t seem to be any more modern than what was out here.

   Arms piled high with blankets and a pillow, she hurried back into the room. Her expression softened slightly when she saw him still standing in the entryway. “It’s okay to come in. I don’t bite.”

   “That’s my line.” When she frowned, he hurriedly added, “I didn’t want to do anything to make you uncomfortable.”

   She dumped the load onto the couch. “You’re a good man, Alexei.”

   No, he wasn’t. He was a shapeshifting bear vamp who killed for a living. It helped to keep his demons at bay and quell the burning bloodlust that rose up in him.

   He shouldn’t be here.

   Before he did something stupid—like leave—he bent down and removed his boots. In his stocking feet, he walked toward her. The room seemed to shrink with each step he took.

   In such a small area, the familiar scent of wildflowers—which he’d now forever associate with her—greeted him, along with the more pungent smell of beer and fried food that clung to her hair and clothing. But beneath it all was the unique perfume of a woman.

   He inhaled sharply, taking in every note. He’d be able to track her wherever she went, to tell her from another with his eyes shut.

   “What are you doing?”

   “Smelling you,” he blurted before he thought better of it. His cheeks grew warmer.

   What in the hell is wrong with me?

   He was a member of an elite brotherhood, an immortal assassin, a shapeshifting polar vampire hybrid. He didn’t blush. Not ever.

   But apparently he did around Cassie.

   “Smelling me?” She bent her head and sniffed her top. “I didn’t think I sweat too much at work.”

   “You didn’t.”

   Stop talking now.

   Maybe banging his head against the wall would beat some sense into him. He knew his way around women, could talk to them. Okay, maybe that was a tiny exaggeration. He spent a lot of time alone. Usually when he went in search of companionship, the women weren’t interested in talking, only fucking.

   He was okay with that.

   But it had left him at a slight disadvantage. He’d never really learned how to have a conversation with an attractive, intelligent woman.

   “Ah, thanks?” The question in her tone made him hang his head and huff out a breath.

   “Yeah, it’s a compliment. A poor one. You smell nice.”

   Her laughter skated over his skin and raised goose bumps on his arms. His dick was already throbbing and at attention. He did his best to ignore the appendage, which was totally disregarding his directive to stay on task.

   Then she placed her hand on his arm. It was totally impersonal and through layers of his clothes, but it shocked him like a live wire. His breathing increased, and he fisted his hands by his sides to keep from grabbing her. The instinct to just take her and make sure she was safe was extremely powerful.

   He not only wanted to fuck her, he wanted to keep her.

   That was the one thing he couldn’t do.

   Not when he might end up having to put her down.

   Totally unaware of the fierce internal battle he was waging, she gave his arm a gentle squeeze before releasing it. “I guess I’ll head to bed. Bathroom is through there.” She pointed at the only other door in the room. “I’ll go first but won’t be long. It will give you time to make your bed on the couch.”

   She hurried into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.

   He lowered his head and rubbed the back of his neck while he huffed out a deep breath.

   Get a grip.

   He had to get a handle on himself. Because one of the things he’d noted when he’d sniffed her was that she smelled human.

   Some paranormals had figured out how to mask their scent. With his dual enhanced senses, it was virtually impossible to hide from him. A creature’s true nature usually came through.

   What in the hell could she have done to piss off an immortal, especially tucked away in Alaska?

   It was a question that needed answering. There was obviously a lot more to the situation than he currently understood.

   Water started to run. His head snapped toward the bathroom. Hunger rose like a giant beast inside him, goading him to satisfy his sexual longings and his craving for blood.

   It would be so easy.

   Stop it!

   He yanked the chain on the feral side of his nature. He had to remain in command. It was more challenging than it should be, considering his reasons for being here.

   He was practically panting now, his entire being tuned to what was happening just beyond his view. Because through his impressive powers of deduction, he could say with certainty Cassie was naked with hot water sluicing over her lush body.

   He sat down on the floor. Hard. Good thing he’d avoided the couch, otherwise the gaudy flowers would have finally met their match. His balls ached, so he reached down and adjusted them, or at least tried to. There was no relief to be found. He had an almost overwhelming urge to pull down the zipper of his jeans, release his erection, and stroke himself until he came.

   That would be not only stupid but also insulting to Cassie. Inviting him to her apartment didn’t mean she was attracted to him.

   Maybe it had been nothing more than pity or her innate kindness. Like offering the local drunks coffee before they left, or the way she put a bowl of nuts in front of an older man so he’d eat something while drinking.

   Maybe she knew who he was and was luring him into a false sense of security. The Brotherhood kept a low profile, but a select group knew who they were. Otherwise, how would they get any work? She might present as ordinary, but maybe she was just better at hiding her true identity.

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